The Los Angeles Times
April 20, 2012
By Betsy Sharkey
The sweet but not too syrupy romance of “The Lucky One,”starring a buffed Zac Efron and a blond Taylor Schilling, is about love emerging from the war-ravaged rubble of a young soldier’s heart and the unlikely things that save him.
Directed by Scott Hicks (“Shine”), with Will Fetters adapting the Nicholas Sparks novel, this is the latest and the best Sparks-inspired film to come along since “The Notebook” won over hearts, if not minds, in 2004. The Sparks-styled romance has almost become its own movie genre — predictable, pure of heart, sentimental and never straying from the boy-meets-girl basics, or the surface, for that matter — and in that “The Lucky One” delivers.
Rendered in a Norman Rockwell ’50s Americana style with white picket fences and church on Sunday, the story is nevertheless present day. It opens as Marine Sgt. Logan Thibault (Efron) is caught in a firefight during his third tour in Iraq. In the aftermath, something catches his eye and when he goes to investigate, an explosion hits the very spot where he’d been sitting. It’s a photo of a girl, and his buddies believe it’s what saved him — and continues to save him — against all odds.